Tuesday, 14 October 2008 I linger a bit in Isle of Whithorn this morning, strolling out onto the pier to look over the
harbor. Reluctantly, I take my leave, feeling I haven't really appreciated my short stay there. Drive up the western shore of the Machars
and visit Glenluce Abbey [Undiscovered
Scotland], another daughter of Cistercian Dundrennan. I've learned that most abbeys, and particularly the Cistercian ones, are laid out to a
very specific plan, and so they do really all look the same, to some extent. Each one has its own unique features, though. Glenluce has a
system of clay pipes delivering water from a nearby hillside spring. This is apparently the only such in the UK; all the other abbeys have
Up the west coast, just short of Maybole, is Crossraguel Abbey, a Cluniac house. The Cluniacs were a link in the chain of reform between the Benedictines and the Cistercians. Crossraguel has retained a good deal of its stonework, owing in part to the fact that its last abbot, at the time of the Dissolution, made a successful transition to laird, and kept the abbey grounds as part of his estate. I wonder whether that's what Henry VIII had in mind. There is a 16th-century gatehouse, entirely intact, that affords a nice view over the ruins, giving the visitor an excellent grasp of the property's layout.
I drive north past Ayr and Irvine, and make a pass through the town of Kilwinning. There is another abbey here, a Tironensian daughter to Kelso, but I can't immediately spot it. Hell with it (figuratively speaking)...I'm about abbeyed out. [I'm sure the reader is just heartsick.] I've seen eighteen so far. No more until Aberdeenshire.
Catch the Gourock-Dunoon ferry just as it's unloading, just like last year. Make my way around the head of Loch Fyne into Inveraray, where I check into my B&B and spend the evening in the George Hotel, an oasis of fine food and drink.